Turkey Trot Still Funds Political Foundation

Almost 28,000 people are expected to run in the 9th Annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, the Thanksgiving morning race put on each year by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Participants might be surprised to note that money raised in previous years to pay health care premiums for low income kids was diverted to political campaigns. The Healthier Kids Foundation, once known as the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, will get a third of the $800,000 SVLG expects to raise. But what Healthier Kids intends to do with the money is not exactly clear. Earlier this spring, San Jose Inside reported that the foundation’s CEO, Kathleen King, ran for office while collecting a salary from the charity. She also operated political campaigns to raise local sales taxes with fellow SCFHF officer Cindy Chavez, the former head of the South Bay Labor Council and now a county supervisor. More than $400,000 was spent on two tax-raising initiatives and another $150k was handed off to Working Partnerships USA for “outreach.” In June, after those reports surfaced, the county’s Health Plan, which actually administers the insurance program for poor children, cut ties with King and booted the foundation out of its county-supplied offices. Since that time King renamed her foundation and has been trying to identify a new mission to save her $181,000 salary. Last month, King took meetings with most of the county supervisors, letting them know her rebranded “nonprofit” intends to apply for a portion of the $10 million in excess funds raised from Measure A, the sales tax measure she and Chavez organized. King also is expected to receive Chavez’ nomination for a spot on the county Health Plan’s board, which several observers see as an effort to eventually force out Elizabeth Darrow, CEO of the Health Plan. “It sounds like business as usual between the two of them,” a source told Fly. SVLG spokesman Steve Wright said that Carl Guardino, CEO of SVLG, and Turkey Trot organizers will “continue to annually review our beneficiaries and make adjustments when appropriate.”

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. Carl Guardino is a real enigma.  The Silicon Valley Leadership Group doesn’t seem to promote the interests of the corporate entities that bankroll Guardino’s operation.  Yet the money keeps rolling in.

  2. > Since that time King renamed her foundation and has been trying to identify a new mission to save her $181,000 salary.

    After the foundation identifies a new mission, they should give me a call.

    Whatever King does for her $181,000 salary, I’ll consider doing it for $179,999.

  3. How do Carl Guardino’s business members feel about his campaign to raise taxes and hand money to Working Partnerships USA? Doesn’t sound like a business-friendly agenda to me.

    It was sold as a $50 million tax increase. That’s half a billion over the ten year life of the tax, but now that the economy has picked up, it’s going to be a lot more. It’s just a slush fund for Shirakawa’s allies (Yeager, Cortese) and successor (Chavez). Voters were lied to.

    King and Cindy Chavez violated their fiduciary duties as non-profit directors when they steered county and Turkey Trot money to the Measure A and WPUSA. Why isn’t the D.A. and Grand Jury looking into this?

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